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Discussion on: I’m Kristen Palana, Teacher, Author, and Artist. Ask Me Anything!

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Jess Lee

What's your favorite travel hack?

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Matt C

One simple hack I have used is to get a 14 day supply of Cipro or amoxicillin (broad-spectrum antibiotic) before you leave. Then when Moctezuma's revenge hits start poppin'. ;)

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Kristen Palana Ask Me Anything

That is an excellent hack! I could have used that on one of my early trips to India when I was teaching there way back in 2000. I was very careful with everything I ate and got a bit cocky the last week and started having local raw veggies right from a farm, etc. Alas, Cipro would have been much appreciated during that time, but I did get it from a doctor when I returned to the US.

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Matt C

The same has happened to me. You get cocky or just a bit lax and let the ice or salad get by the defenses... But I also like your traveling pharmacy idea too! I'm sure you have been in places where pepto bismol is impossible to find much less benedryl or even advil, Ughh.

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Kristen Palana Ask Me Anything

Sometimes you just plain forget or make a dumb mistake. I was in Guatemala in 2006 and going to go meet my sponsored child there. I went across the street to a shopping mall in the city before going to her village and bought an orange juice from a stall. I didn't realize until after I drank it that it had been made with local water. My poor sponsored child met me in very bad condition. So embarrassing! Thankfully we also met again a few days later after I had recovered.

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Matt C

Lol, Was it the Bag-O-Juice with the straw?
Was it the stand, where a lady ladles it out from the plastic container that has the tin plate on top for sterility? I think I drank from the same stand, lol.

I have been to Guate several times, probably around the same time, lol. I Love Antigua and Lake Atitlan. I have been going down to Central America, on and off, for circa 20 yrs.

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Kristen Palana Ask Me Anything

It was one of those weird giant boxes of tumbling orange liquid you see a lot in malls. Exciting, yet sketchy in retrospect. What was I thinking?
I only went to Guatemala that one time en route also to Honduras, but i do hope to visit again one of these days. Antigua was amazing as well!

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Kristen Palana Ask Me Anything • Edited on

Dear Jess,

Great questions. Hmmm... I'm starting to forget what international travel is thanks to the pandemic, but let me try and remember.

Maybe this sounds boring, but I do try and always have a first aid kit and certain essential medicines for upset stomach, headaches, fever, etc. The last time we traveled in Malawi, we were 4 hours away in the mountains from the nearest village and sure enough, my older son (age 11) got food poisoning. The only thing that kept us calm and sane was my little portable pharmacy.

I also LOVE to learn at least 10-30+ worlds of the local language wherever we are going. You'll find speakers of the more popular languages like Spanish, French, German, Italian, etc. may roll their eyes at your clumsy attempts. But... when you take some time to learn a bit of Burmese, Hindi, Chichewa, or whatever the language is in the country you're visiting... you will have made friends for life just by attempting to make a nice greeting, say please and thank you in the local tongue, etc. I find it's really appreciated, especially where the language is less known in the wider world outside that country. It can also save you money! When we lived in Myanmar, the taxi drivers always gave me a local fare because I asked in Burmese. (Sending my love to Myanmar right now.)

I hope I've answered your question.

Best wishes,
Kristen

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Hasters

I can help you figure out where and how to get the most rest and relaxation. I only know for myself because I looked, and it is best to rely on expert advice and read thoroughly before leaving. I learned a lot of useful information for myself at tripbirdie.com/costa-rica-vs-puert... , and I encourage that you do the same. It is certain that it will not be unnecessary. Good luck, and I hope I was of assistance!